If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve some idea of what market research companies in the UK do, and how research is the rocket fuel that powers your most effective campaigns, product developments, and marketing strategies.
But for the avoidance of doubt and to make sure we’re all on the same page, market research is about gathering and analyzing data on customers, competitors, distributors, and other actors and forces in the marketplace.
That’s important because market research takes the guesswork out of getting through to audiences. By studying consumers and gathering information on their likes, dislikes and so on, a brand can make evidence-based decisions rather than relying on instinct or experience.
If a business wants to know – really know – what sort of products or services consumers want to buy, through to where, when, and how those products and services should be marketed, then it makes total sense to ask the prospective audience.
Without the certainty that market research provides, a business is basically hoping for the best, and while we salute their optimism, that’s not exactly a reliable strategy for success.
The point is, research matters. To help you take advantage of this, here’s what this blog covers:
- How to choose the right market research company for you
- Meet the major players: market research companies in the UK
- Last words
- Market research FAQs
How to choose the right market research company for you
Different market research companies are not created equal. Behind the snazzy websites and persuasive pitching, individual research companies can vary pretty dramatically in terms of what they do and how they do it – all of which can radically alter the benefit their service provides. How do you pick the right research partner for you? Some key things to consider are:
- Does the market research company you’re considering work with or know about your audience?
- Does the company have expertise in your industry and category?
- Do they have a history of success with businesses like yours?
- What’s their capacity? Can they actually do the job you need doing?
- Does the company conduct the right sort of research to answer your questions?
- Are they transparent about where their data comes from and how they ensure quality?
- Does the company have a track record of providing actionable insights?
- What’s their process for collecting and analyzing data?
- How do they communicate with their clients?
- Will the market research company provide results in a timely manner?
- Will their work add value for your business?
While there are hundreds of market research companies out there, these questions should help you narrow the field to a handful of promising candidates. On that topic, let’s meet 12 of the UK’s major players, starting – unashamedly – with us, GWI, but otherwise in no particular order.
Meet the major players
The world’s largest ongoing study of online audiences, with a powerful, intuitive platform that instantly puts high impact insights at your fingertips.
Locations: Global, with offices in the UK, US, Greece, Czech Republic, and Singapore
Specialisms: Every business has questions about its audiences; GWI has the answers. Powered by consistent, global research, our market research platform is an on-demand window into their world, giving GWI customers on-demand insights into the lives of billions of digital consumers in 52 world markets. As well as our flagship Core data set we’ve equally compelling additional data sets and add-ons that zero in on the USA, kids, gaming, sport, alcohol, B2B buying and work, consumer tech, and travel. Need even deeper insights into your target audiences? We’ve got you covered. Ask any question you like with our custom surveys, analytics and solutions, all tailored to your exact needs. Whatever the topic, whatever the question, GWI has the answer.
Clients: Publicis, Google, Spotify, Microsoft, WPP, Amazon, LinkedIn, and The Guardian.
Use cases: These fall into three intuitive buckets: marketing strategy, including media planning, content marketing, brand health, and ads targeting; product development, including product expansion and improvements, and partnership and collaboration opportunities, and competitive advantage, which includes market differentiation, winning pitches and retaining clients, sponsorship opps and market sizing/expansion.
If you’re looking for a market research company in the UK and you’d like to find out how GWI can help you uncover and maximize opportunities, book a discovery call.
Kantar TGI Consumer Data
Relevant and robust data about global and local audiences in an increasingly connected world.
Locations: Global (90+ offices as part of Kantar Group)
Specialisms: TGI Consumer Data specializes in media consumption (across print, TV, radio and online), as well as product and brand usage, attitudes, motivations, and beliefs, all under the banner of “connected consumer intelligence”. TGI uses Kantar’s data – they’re a subsidiary after all – based on a representative sample of over 700,000 consumers in 50 markets. Data is collected online, while offline panels of consumers provide detail on what each consumer does and how those activities are connected to each other.
Use cases: TGI enables marketing and research teams to enhance strategic planning by segmenting customers and identifying gaps in the market. They help media agencies optimize media planning by identifying the most relevant target audiences against the right advertising activation choices. TGI works with media owners’ sales teams to understand their audience in lifestyle, attitudinal or consumer terms, and uses this to create competitive value.
A global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics, Nielsen empowers clients with trusted intelligence.
Locations: Global (100+ offices)
Specialisms: For Nielsen, “audience is everything”. They describe themselves as “Connecting clients to audiences, growth and new opportunities”, while “shaping the future of media” so their clients can “stay ahead of media’s evolution with our timely insight” by measuring behavior across different channels and platforms. They’re perhaps best known for their Nielsen ratings, an audience measurement system of television viewership that for many years has been the deciding factor in canceling or renewing television shows.
Use cases: Specific services include audience measurement (including cross media, digital, streaming and TV), media planning (including audience segmentation, competitor intelligence and scenario planning), market optimization (including marketing outcomes and sports/games), and content metadata (covering audio, sports, and video).
A global online community of 24 million people sharing their views daily. Clients can explore public opinion “about anything and everything”.
Locations: Global (40+ offices)
Specialisms: YouGov’s mission is to supply a continuous stream of accurate data and insight into what the world thinks, so that companies, governments, and institutions can make informed decisions. Describing what they do as “Living Consumer Intelligence”, YouGov enables some of the world’s most recognised brands, media owners, and agencies to understand their customers using consumer data on 24 million+ registered panel members in 55+ markets.
Use cases: These fall into four buckets: Tracking, by continuously monitoring what an audience thinks about brands, campaigns, and the competition creates a powerful feedback loop for clients. Planning, with over a million data points to help users unlock the most complete profile of their audience and use it to plan marketing campaigns. Exploring, by allowing clients to get answers from their chosen audience using syndicated data products or customized surveys. Activating, enabling advertisers to optimize their ad spend by using research-based audiences to activate ad campaigns.
Attest pairs the expertise of a research agency with the speed (and price) of a self-serve tool for the best of both worlds.
Locations: US, UK
Specialisms: Attest is a consumer research platform that puts trustworthy insights in more people’s hands to minimize risk, increase decision-making confidence, and grow without guesswork. Based on the views of 125 million people across 58 countries, and combining the best bits of research technology and human expertise, Attest makes it simple for anyone to uncover opportunities with consumer data, continuously, at a global scale. They call it “growth without guesswork”.
Use cases: Brand tracking (including brand health and performance), consumer profiling (for example finding audiences and building personas), creative testing (in terms of validating creative impact and qualifying campaign uplift), market analysis (like identifying new markets and de-risking expansion), and product development (including innovation and uplift).
Empowering bold sustainable action, GfK earns the trust of clients around the world by solving critical questions in their decision-making process.
Locations: Global (20+ offices)
Specializms: As GfK puts it, “We specializes in solving critical questions in our clients’ decision-making process. We fuel their growth by providing a complete understanding of their consumers’ buying behavior, and the dynamics impacting their markets, brands and media trends.” With a holistic retail read and the most comprehensive consumer insights – delivered with advanced analytics through state-of-the-art platforms – GfK drives “growth from knowledge”.
Use cases: GfK divides these into 5 areas: Brand and marketing performance (including improving brand strength, optimizing marketing, and driving ROI), Sales and marketing growth, Consumer and shopper intelligence (in terms of consumer and shopper intelligence, and how customers think, act and buy), Media measurement (covering an audience’s media consumption and behavior, and understanding who’s consuming which media, when, how often, and on which platforms and devices).
Participant recruitment and project management experts, FieldworkHub delivers market research services in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Specializms: FieldworkHub specialize in both qualitative and quantitative research fieldwork. Their qualitative expertise covers focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographies, online bulletin boards, market research online communities, and user experience testing. FieldworkHub’s quantitative specialisms cover online surveys, telephone interviews, and face-to-face interviews. As their name implies, their ultimate specialism is providing high-quality focus group recruitment as part of the full range of qualitative and quantitative fieldwork services.
Use cases: Recruiting audiences for consumer understanding (to highlight opinions, behaviors, and preferences in relation to a market, product, or service), B2B market research (using a combination of their own panel, specialist databases, social networking, and recruiters), tech professionals and users (focussing on consumers who use particular apps or hardware, and B2B technology decision makers), and healthcare professionals and patients (to provide insights on everything from branding to new product testing).
Statista is a leading provider of market and consumer data, constantly developing successful new products and business models.
Locations: Global (18+ offices)
Specializms: Statista divides its offer into four specialisms: Content & Design focuses on research and information design, eCommerce Insights provides market analyses, benchmarking and lead generation, Consumer Insights analyzes consumer behavior and media usage on- and offline, based on the data of 1,700,000 consumers from 56 countries, while Market Insights covers market sizing and forecasts.
Use cases: Market Insights (covering a broad range of topics, from consumer goods to technology to automobiles), Consumer insights (highlighting consumer attitudes and behavior worldwide), Company insights (providing business information on 70m+ public and private companies), and eCommerce insights (offering detailed information for 39,000+ online stores and marketplaces).
Delivering actionable, objective insights to executives and their teams to help them make faster, smarter decisions.
Locations: Global (90+ offices)
Specializms: From benchmarks to frameworks to rankings, Gartner provides the practical solutions that transform mission-critical priorities into measurable business results. Benchmarking leverages their best-in-class diagnostics to excel where it matters most, budget smarter, and make function more effective. Cost Optimisation identifies where to reduce, protect and invest to drive growth and efficiency, while Strategic Planning creates a clear and streamlined road map to meet business goals.
Use cases: Audit and risk, customer service and support, finance, human resources, information technology, legal and compliance, marketing and communications, product management, sales, strategy, and supply chain.
The world’s largest first-party data company, covering 70 million consumers and professionals, fully permissioned with billions of verified data points.
Locations: Global (40+ offices)
Specializms: Dynata divides its specialisms into two broad categories: data and insight solutions, uncovering accurate and actionable insights to drive smarter decision-making, and advertising solutions designed to measure & optimize your cross-channel campaigns to improve your marketing ROI.
Use cases: Dynata’s use cases cover a broad sweep of market research tasks, including finding and selecting your ideal audience, building surveys to get you closer to your consumers, connecting data across silos, audience and campaign activation to drive better campaign results, creative testing to produce memorable adverts that maximize ROI, and sharing reports and analytics.
A pioneering audience measurement company, accurately measuring audiences in an increasingly cross-platform world.
Locations: Global (30+ offices)
Specializms: Automotive, FMCG, retail and travel (planning, transacting, and evaluating advertising across platforms to increase engagement and ROI), digital (accurate measurement across all platforms), financial (comprehensive reporting of competitive performance across acquisition and retention KPIs), pharma (privacy-focused, holistic measurement of campaign outcomes), and tech (understanding emerging consumer trends, device usage, and platforms).
Use cases: Advertising (measuring and evaluating effectiveness across platforms), marketing impact (maximizing effectiveness), programmatic targeting (for cross platform audiences), TV audiences (measuring size and makeup), digital audiences (measuring all content types), movies (measuring global box office performance), social (understanding value of social audiences).
The world’s first “human intelligence platform”, Streetbees captures real life moments, at scale, and in people’s own words.
Locations: London and Lisbon
Specializms: Streetbees currently has two flagship solutions that reflect their area of specialization. Streetbees GO captures and communicates the context and emotion of 4.5m lives so brands can make the right growth decisions in terms of demand spaces, category development, market trends and brand growth. Its Cost of Living Monitor helps brands create winning strategies to combat inflation by observing how consumers’ spending is changing in their category.
Use cases: Observing the moment of truth, by capturing real life behavior at the moment a consumer makes a decision. Never rely on claims again. Getting closer to consumers at scale, by accessing rich data with photos and videos from millions of consumers around the world. Growth through AI also allows you to spot hidden growth opportunities by applying AI to millions of real life observations from real consumers.
Twelve different market research companies, with twelve different ways to help brands by taking the gut feel out of decision-making.
Market research FAQs
How much does it cost to hire market research companies?
The cost of accessing a market research company’s platform – assuming they offer one – varies considerably between providers. LinkedIn suggests some ballpark figures for custom research projects, although obviously this can vary dramatically.
How do you understand consumer/customer behavior?
Using market research, a process that starts with collecting data on your customers, followed by qualitative and quantitative methods like focus groups, surveys and customer behavior data. The aim is to analyze the data to look for trends and patterns.
What does marketing research do for a company?
Market research provides critical information about your market and your business landscape. It can tell you how your company is perceived by the target customers and clients you want to reach. It can also give you the consumer insights you need to refine your product, ace your marketing plans, and size up new markets.